In the build-up to Saturday’s game, Graham Potter seemed to play down the idea of rotating his squad from Wednesday night, stressing that we had to find the right “balance” in such situations between continuity and fresh legs.
As it turns out, that balance was much more in favor of the latter, with no fewer than seven changes made by the head coach: only one defender (Trevoh Chalobah), one midfielder (Ruben Loftus-Cheek), and one forward (Mason Mount) keeping their places from midweek (and the goalkeeper).
Evidently, that was enough continuity as Chelsea matched Wednesday’s scoreline with another 3-0 win. Potter was rightly pleased to see his lineup decisions pay off, crediting the players rotating in for picking up where those who rotated out left off.
“To recover and prepare isn’t straightforward but we have a good group that are committed, that are together, that are fighting for each other so that is positive. [...] It’s a credit to the players.
“We can’t succeed with just eleven players and I don’t think it’s right to just keep eleven going until they fall down, get injured and then we play the next ones. That is not good for the group dynamic. At the same time, I am conscious that if we lose today you’d have come with me asking why I didn’t play Aubameyang, that is how it is.
“But as long as the reason is there, as long as I know in my head why we’ve made the decision, someone has to take it. Today it’s worked out well and credit to the players because the group is really together and pushing for each other. It’s important everybody knows we can’t do it with just eleven.”
“It won’t necessarily have to be like this, you have to take every situation on its own. But if you’re playing three games a week, going from Champions League and then two days later to Premier League, you have to make a decision around fresh players, players that are determined and desperate to play, there is that aspect.
“We’ve got a good group here, it’s a good squad with lots of competition and you need people fighting for each other, supporting each other, wanting to play and ready to help. We saw that today. Kai scored, Christian scored and Armando scored, so that’s really pleasing.”
-Graham Potter; source: Football.London
Making the right calls and getting rewarded for it. Perfect.